"In a world where personal growth books are a dime a dozen, “Talk to Me Like I’m Someone You Love” gleams like gold. Any person in a relationship and every couples therapist on the planet, needs Nancy Dreyfus’s Relationship Repair In A Flash. We all have moments when words fail us and emotions take us into hurtful territory. The concept of the flashcards is as brilliant and compassionate as Nancy herself. If you want to be loved, understood, and accepted, and want to love, understand and accept others, you’ll want to keep this book with you at all times."
— Susan Harrow, CEO of www.prsecrets.com and author of
Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul
"Watching a couple devote yet another session hurling verbal javelins at each other, psychotherapist Nancy Dreyfus tried a new technique on sheer impulse: grabbing paper and pen, she scribbled a message for the husband to hold: ‘Talk to Me Like I’m Someone You Love.” The meltdown was dramatically swift, the behavioral shift surprisingly durable."
— from an Utne Reader cover story
"As a somatic educator on the impact of trauma on our nervous systems, I see Nancy’s flashcards as a priceless tool to help couples de-activate from states of hyperarousal, and restore healthy states of social engagement. The cards are an elegant application of cutting edge neuroscience in very human, poignant, user-friendly terms!"
— Deborah Boyar, PhD, Somatic Experience Practitioner, San Rafael, California
AMAZON - February 1, 2010
5 out of 5 stars From Conflict to Connection
Without Years of Therapy,
– By Marissa H. McMillin (Omaha, NE USA)
How many times have you heard yourself or someone you know mention that they would die to be in therapy IF only they had the money, their partner would agree to it, they could find someone really good or any other laundry list of excuses? Well, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I am going to go ahead and announce that "Talk to Me Like I'm Someone You Love" is the answer to your prayers.
Dr. Dreyfus offers invaluable lessons that are both insightful and applicable in this book. The premise of "relationship repair in a flash" involves asking the reader to imagine the all-too-familiar moment during a tense conversation or argument with a partner that quickly becomes an emotional downward spiral. Just when you feel as though you've successfully made it to the point of no return, or the point where each of you exhibits your chronic emotionally unhealthy pattern, Dreyfus suggests a way to pause and redirect yourselves back from "conflict to connection." How do we do this? Flashcards! By removing the emotional charge that is carried by voice intonation or body language, Dreyfus finds that the mere act of reading a written message in the midst of such tension is surprisingly powerful. Dividing these moments into nine sections, there are a total of 101 flashcard ideas (she also explains how to come up with your own), each with an incredibly evolved explanation of the psychology behind the message for both the "Sender" and "Receiver" of the card.
So, for example, let's take a look at my current favorite card. "Rather than just criticize me, can you tell me what you want in a more positive way?" This card is indexed under the "Setting Limits" section and Dreyfus explains that the power in this card comes from the fact that the Sender isn't getting defensive and disagreeing with the criticism, but rather asking for his/her partner to make communicating their desires more important than being a critic. As Dreyfus also explains, many of these cards could easily fit under different categories; to me, this card, when successfully used, could easily "shift gears" (an earlier section of cards). And, wow, finding even one card that speaks to my relationship woes feels so very precious!
In addition to the subject matter, I am impressed by the way Dreyfus articulates HOW to use this book, even addressing what to do when your partner doesn't want to use the cards. I also felt that at first glance the number of flashcards in this book might be daunting, but Dreyfus clearly explains ways to pick up on which cards are relevant to you and your partner. On page 87, she gives away a therapy secret by explaining a fantasy scenario and corresponding line of questioning she goes through with every new client. She quickly gets to the point by saying "I go down this road because I want to know one important thing -- how your early universe related to you when you were vulnerable." This gem of insight has the potential to seem like magic in gaining a new understanding of where your partner is coming from in his/her reactions to intimacy and vulnerability.
For those who are looking for a deeply intellectual book on couples' psychology, as well as those looking for a quick and easy fix for a long-term struggle, this book has it all. Dr. Dreyfus illustrates a language around relationships, both to ourselves and others, that has rarely been this profound or accessible. Bravo!
"Admittedly, as an experiment, I gave a copy of “Talk to Me Like I’m Someone You Love” to one of my most challenging couples — and as they flipped through the phrases seeing things ‘they could have said,’ they nodded in recognition, and left the session more hopeful than I had seen them. They returned the following week having tagged the phrases they knew would be useful to have handy when they pushed each other’s hot buttons, and felt empowered reporting that they had communicated over the week in a more loving way. I’ve shared this with therapist friends, and everyone of them wants a set — probably as much for their own relationships as for their clients"
– Dr. Wanda Eppes, Family Center for Psychology and Education, Winter Park, Florida
"As a therapist who has worked for years in the military, I see Nancy Dreyfus’s Flash Cards as the perfect teaching tool for people who usually don’t read self-help books. The couples I work with have all the same problems as other couples — with the added stress of 4-6 month deployments, frequent moves and long duty hours as active military members. Her book helps couples quickly gain the communication skills they need to decrease the tension that inevitably leads to serious aggression."
– Major Jim Coffidis, LCSW (U.S. Air Force, retired), Altus, Oklahoma